Sunday, April 28, 2013

A - Z Challenge: XAVIER --> JAVIER

Again, I'm a day late.  Oh well.


Yay, today I'm going to talk about Spanish names, which are tons of fun.  I think Spanish names are some of the most beautiful names ever, so I'm going to share the ones I've encountered, my favorites, and what their English equivalent would be (if they have one).  Here it's also common to find more names that we might consider "old-fashioned," like Óscar (Oscar), Alfredo (Alfred), and Beatriz (Beatrice).  I really like that.


Javier (Xavier) --> A very common name, often shortened to "Javi," and well known in the English-speaking world due to Javier Bardem.
Antonio (Anthony)
Carlos (Charles)
Francisco (Frances)
Rafael (Raphael)
Raúl (Ralph)
Ricardo (Richard)
Juan (John) --> The king of Spain's name is Juan Carlos.
Reyes --> Literally means "kings" in Spanish.
Sergio (Sergius)
Ángel (Angel)
Santiago (James) --> Santiago (Saint James) is the patron saint of Spain.
Enrique (Henry)


Beatriz (Beatrice) --> This is my favorite girls' name, pronounced "Bay-uh-treez," and often shortened to "Bea."
Isabel (Elizabeth/Isabella) --> Very common.
Florencia (Florence) --> Often shortened to Flor (the Spanish word for "flower")
Soledad (Solitude) --> Despite this name's sad meaning, it's actually fairly common.
Aurelia --> Less common, and it means "gold."
Mercedes (Mercy) --> Yes, pronounced like the car, only a little softer.
Amparo --> Means "protection, shelter."
Alba --> This word means "morning light" in Spanish.
Pilar (Pillar) --> In English, we probably wouldn't name someone "Pillar," as in "column," but it's actually a pretty common name in Spanish.  Personally, I really like it.
Maria + José/Luisa/Laura/etc. --> Maria is a very common name, but it's often paired with another.
Rocio --> Literally translates to "dew" in Spanish.


Names are fun, but they're also stressful.  How do you choose the perfect name for a character?  Sometimes, it just comes to you.  Sometimes, you have to search, and search, and search…

One of my biggest pet peeves is unusual names that have no reason to be unusual.  I understand want their characters to stand out, but at the same time, bizarre names often detract from believability, especially in a contemporary setting.  In fantasy and science fiction, unusual names are fine, as long as they fit with the rest of the world (if you're creating your own world, even made-up names should be derived from a common language so they have a similar sound, which helps with world-building).  Otherwise, tread carefully.

Be especially careful with historical fiction.  It's not enough for the name to come from the language of the country in which the story is set.  There was less variety back in the day (just look at Jane Austen's books, for example), and names that didn't follow the norm were very, very rare.  Some names didn't even exist yet.

How do you choose names?

1 comment:

  1. I like this post, very helpful! I'm stopping by on the A to Z challenge and I'll be sure to read more of your posts!